Posted Sep 01 2012 - 10:52 PM
Ok, let's do this!Three weeks ago, I finished reading Tale of Yrenta. Due to reasons I will outline in a PM coming your way very soon, I was unable to give my promised holistic review until now.This epic opens with a wonderfully chosen starting point, the middle of the League of Six Kingdoms. This gives a climactic opening point and introduces a large host of characters quickly, allowing us to rapidly acquaint ourselves with some of what will become major characters. The opening chapters detail the explorations of Matoran adventurers, which gives a very enjoyable MNOG feel. A believable mix of familiar and invented Rahi appear in this portion, the Jivri Nui being one of the best-imagined, and it's name stays true to the tradition of naming more fearsome versions of familiar Rahi with a 'Nui' suffix that we see in Bionicle nomenclature. Subtle things like that to hold continuity can go a long ways. Characters with behaviors similar to their elemental alignments bring back an old and largely dead tradition as well. I suppose I am helping kill that old concept with my writings ( ), but, hey, I really liked it in here. It worked really well. Oh, and of course that goes for the villages themselves and the customs of those villages. Poor Morok - even after admitting his guilt openly, getting beat up by Gareki, and going out cold, he has to wake up to an uncomfortable Po-Matoran excuse for a bed! Alas! The Gravity village was the best example of this: it's an element we haven't seen a Koro for in canon, but you made the elemental tie-ins in a logical fashion - an even greater challenge when considering it's a rather abstract element.Now, Teskor's appearance marks a transition in the story. Teskor made for a decent Makuta; the minotaur-like build isn't something we've seen before in Makuta and since they all seem to have unique appearances, it works for me. Nothing to spectacular with his introduction, he's a Makuta who's trying to make a good impression on the Matoran and who just ends up being a bit creepy instead. The Ni-Koro makes for another well-imagined environ with its lightning harvesters and electrical devices. The surroundings on Mount Tasle are what truly sell it, though. The overlapping thunderclaps and perpetual lightning striking the rocky crags - now I know I'm just beyond the Lightning Village! The creation of a Matoran Nui was another great reappearance of an infrequently-used canon concept. This is where I will make one criticism, however. As far as word choice goes, I see the word "amalgam" show up time and time again in continual succession. For such a specific word, it is normally considered to loose some of its effectiveness when used so many times in a row. This would be a good point to use pronouns (if you can avoid ambiguity with the word "it") or find synonymous words. Pretty minor complaint though, and it's difficult to avoid with a strange entity such as a Matoran Nui.Oh yay! Toa rise to the challenges of the universe!The new Toa behave just as you would expect new Toa to behave. Eagerness for action, an inability to control their powers, a little bit of generic and inadvertent mayhem (it going to take the Po-Matoran repair crew weeks to get the Ce-Kini back in working order) - you captured it all. "Pebbles, raindrops, hot gas, electric tingles, weeds, and falling" - Now we're talking! Some of these battle techniques were great - I especially like ionized gas combo for plasma and electricity. It seems so logical in retrospect, but I'm not sure I've seen anyone use it before in a battle sequence. You'll have to tell me if you saw that in some other fanfic first, but it was a good touch to include it whether it was fully the product of your own creativity or a borrowed concept - it doesn't matter. The battle to reach Teskor was also well done, a valiant but inevitably doomed assualt that ended leaving us readers nicely confused. Teskor's answers... answered nothing! It's fun to be confused!Ok, let's run through everything else rather quickly - this review is turning out to be gargantuan in proportions, even if I expected this to be the case given that it is a review of a full 32-chapter epic. I like the Hand of Artahka dude speaking in early contemporary English, it sets him apart and makes emphasizes his lengthy wait and noble purpose, even if he does get a little overly-zealous in his insistence on taking out the even the Toa! I get the feeling he's a proponent of the "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" approach. I assume that was Ancient at the end - nice little cameo and a hilarious moment as Gareki and Morok confusedly go "Um... what just happened?" Not literally, but you know what I mean. The Lightning Village evacuation succeeds in being panic-inducing and horrifying we realize just how outmatched the Ni-Matoran are. Ilikia's desperate defense gives us a sense of her courage just as we earlier got a sense of Morok's belief in justice as he travelled to Po-Koro to apologize for Pakkum's death (something I failed to mention earlier). The actions you portray in these characters are great as far as characterization and making the characters believable beings we can sympathize and - in Ilikia's case here, after the destruction of her village - lament alongside. Nice usage of the word "Piraka" once again - that being yet another story concept brought up and forgotten (I'm just referring to the fact GregF said "Piraka" meant "thief" or "murderer," yet we never once saw it used except to refer to the Skakdi of '06). A pseudo-mystery with Siok mixed things up a bit and a nice display of unintended consequences with the Vesai-centric segment - I'll skim over these. They were also well-done and consistent with the rest, but I don't feel I need to elaborate further.One thing that didn't fit in earlier as I made my chronological progession: Varlokka's prediction as to her defeat. I seemed like she knew too much about it just from prophecies coming from the stars. I just feel that it was always a bit more cryptic when it was Vakama or Nokama or one of our good old '01 Turaga making those prophecies, which was back when it was plot-important. (The Matoran in the Knowledge Towers in '04 did the same, I know, but we never really got any insight into what sort of information they were able to record from the stars. We just knew they did it. I take it you were basing this off of the '01-style prophetic star readings anyway.) I didn't really like the level of detail she got: she knew she would fall, she knew she would survive - just barely, she knew six Matoran would come, and she knew she was to imbue them with Toa power! That's quite a bit to glean from prophetic stars! Anyway, that entire thing got, what? - like a sentence? - of attention, so it didn't detract much. Just something I noticed.And of course, our finale. A call to arms to what we know will be one of the pivotal conflicts of the MU and Toa Yrenta will be there. I like it, I like it. And the final admission of exactly what Teskor had been planning (and was up to) the entire time. Yes, his plan is totally in the style of the plans of the Makuta and it is devious in the extreme! Finally the puzzle pieces fall into place and the conundrum begins to explain itself...All in all I loved it and I hope this in-depth analysis did some level of good! I'll catch up with your further writing in the future. Thanks for writing the epic and I'll see you around!EDIT: OH! I almost forgot. (Well, actually I did, but then I remembered it later.) I looked at your Yrentan MOCs. While it doesn't directly pertain to the writing, I figured I might as well say it here. The MOCs were pretty cool in general, but the mind-blowing one was the Matoran Nui. That was amazing! I was quite simply dumbfounded by the fact that you had used every piece, save a few masks, in it just to stay true to the spirit of the Matoran Nui concept. Bonus points have been awarded!
Edited by Maganar, Sep 02 2012 - 10:17 AM.
I AM OFFICIALLY BACK! After 18 months on hiatus, I have returned, but I have spent that time well. If you want to see how it was spent, click on the banner to start reading the result or click on the linky-link below to get further information off of the review topic.